Advice For Negotiating Your Starting Salary

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Published: 23 Nov 2016      

It’s one of the most dreaded questions in any job interview. You’ve applied for a role that claims to offer a ‘competitive’ salary, which means you end up getting asked what you would consider fair payment for the role.

Go too high and you may strike yourself off the list of potential recruits right there. Too low and you may undervalue yourself.

It’s a tricky conundrum that requires some thought before you can answer confidently. If you want to ensure these salary negotiations go well, follow all of this advice.

Do Your Research

It is critical that you enter the interview with a solid idea of what people are usually paid for the role you have applied for. Search for comparable jobs and pay particular attention to those that name a flat salary. You may also need to consider other factors, such as the area the job is in. This is because some areas will have more demand for your skillset than others, which sometimes means you can command a higher starting salary. The key is that you have a good idea of what you are worth before the question ever gets asked.

What Makes You Different?

Remember that your potential employer will have interviewed many people prior to you and the salary question will have been asked of each of them. This means you need to find something that separates you from the pack. In essence, you need to demonstrate that you bring something to the table that makes hiring you at the salary you have named worthwhile. If you don’t, you can bet that somebody else will.

Give A Ranged Answer

Of course, you don’t need to set a specific salary number when asked about what you hope to earn. In fact, it is best to offer a range to your potential employer, as this shows you have flexibility. Of course, the low end of your range should still not be a figure you would be unhappy to work for, but offering a range gives some room for movement on the part of the employer.

As an example, if you want to earn £26,000 per year in your role, you may offer a range of £25,000 -£28,000. If you end up with £25,000 it wouldn’t be catastrophic, however, it is more likely that employers will pick a number out of the mid-range.

Know What You Won’t Accept

Given all of your research and any prior experience in similar roles, you should know the minimum of what you expect to be paid. Unfortunately, some employers will try to stoop below that minimum figure and may be unwilling to budge on it.

In these cases you really need to consider your priorities. Do you absolutely need the job, or do you have time to search for a role that offers more respect to your abilities and a higher pay packet? Simply put, if you don’t feel like the role offers enough, don’t be afraid to walk away from it.

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